Holy Fear Opens the Door

Holy Fear Opens the Door

Wisdom: the practical art of living skillfully; moral discernment; taking pleasure in the right things; practicing the truth in daily life; learning to live as our Creator intended. Based on understanding, not intelligence; on contemplation, not calculation; on faith, not insight; on practical spirituality, not personal giftedness. (paraphrases from various sources)

Wisdom is like a secret treasure buried by God, says Job. Wisdom is sublime mystery, he continues, and only God knows where it dwells. In his exquisite hymn in praise of wisdom in chapter 28, Job describes man’s valiant efforts at mining for silver and gold, digging deep for precious jewels. He discusses the ingenuity it takes to dig to the utmost limits, boring into ravines, upturning mountains by the roots, cutting canals through the rock, and exploring the sources of rivers. And yet, he asks, where is wisdom found? We spend all that energy to find so-called precious materials, but what about the even more precious wisdom and understanding?

At the climax of his hymn, Job concludes that sapphires and rubies are worthless compared to God’s wisdom. And for that we mine in vain, because the road to wisdom is unknown by humankind, its location hidden from any living creature. Despite our grandest of efforts and depth of sincerity, wisdom is beyond our scope, outside our intellectual reach.

So if we want to be wise, what do we do, where do we go? Job’s final word to the wise… Go to God and fear him. The prudent miner begins with the King of the mountain himself, approaching him in reverence and awe and trust. Holy fear opens the door to the mountain’s throne room and allows access to the King, his truth, his life. Once with him, we honor and adore him, we hallow his name and character, we discover that his presence has been our heart’s desire all along. His being transcends us, his presence transforms us, and we grow in wisdom as a natural, or supernatural result. We find that wisdom is indeed taking root in the fertile ground of our relationship with the King. And we become inspired, literally, to embrace virtue and character, and to participate in the holy process of creativity, all in the Spirit of our Creator himself.

When we are attentive, the King does not hesitate to reveal his crown jewel: Love. Love is wisdom’s mature fruit in due season, the currency of the kingdom. He says he is the source of love, that he is in fact Love, which is the deep truth of wisdom. Love has the last word with the King, and Love is his last word to the wise.

Finally, in our pursuit of wisdom, the King reminds us of his Son, the Prince, who was made wisdom for us (1 Cor. 1:30). Go to him, in whom are hid all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3). Learn from him who is wiser than Solomon (Matt. 12:42), and be wise as snakes and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16). You can’t be wise, says the King, without the Prince.

“Blessed are those who have discovered wisdom, who have acquired understanding. Gaining her is more rewarding than silver, her yield more valuable than gold.”  (Proverbs 3:13-14)

One Reply to “Holy Fear Opens the Door”

  1. Beautifully articulated and poignant. This prompts thought and inspires consideration…

    I was thinking about your miners… Continuing the metaphor, it seems that whenever we attempt to work on our own strength to mine for the truths of love, we end up with fool’s gold, a cheap imitation. The source of the greatest mysteries is a love that we must be led to, that we must be shown. And it is nearly impossible to properly articulate a complete picture or whole description of this love, except to point to Him. Without his guidance and presence, we cannot reach the jewels we seek; in fact, we cannot even see them.
    Love you daddy!!